For Immediate Release
December 1, 2019

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PITTSBURGH, PA—The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra today released the following statement on the news of the passing of Maestro Mariss Jansons, Music Director of the orchestra from 1997-2004.

“Our hearts are heavy and saddened with the passing of Maestro Mariss Jansons, a great and beloved Music Director for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He was an exceptional leader who brought the orchestra into the 21st century with astonishing music not only at Heinz Hall, but at halls throughout the world on tour,” said Melia Tourangeau, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “We are compelled to reflect on his passion for music making and his call to, ‘perform each night as if you think it is your last.’ We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Irina and their family.”

"I was so very sad to learn this morning of the passing of our beloved former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Mariss Jansons. What a deep loss this is for the entire music world, which loses one of its greatest artists, but especially for Pittsburgh,” said Manfred Honeck, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “We will cherish the many unforgettable concerts that Mariss led, his extraordinary artistry and beautiful humanity. I personally have lost a dear friend and he will be greatly missed by all. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with his wife, Irina, and the entire family."

At the Pittsburgh Symphony concert this afternoon at Heinz Hall, Honeck addressed the audience with a remembrance of Jansons, and then led the orchestra in a performance of the Schubert Litanei auf das Fest Aller Seelen, D. 343 in honor of Jansons, followed by a moment of silence.

On April 10, 1995, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Mariss Jansons as the eighth Music Director of the orchestra, to succeed Lorin Maazel. The musical partnership lasted through the 2003-2004 season. At the time of his appointment, Jansons’ performances and recordings with the Oslo Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg (formerly the Leningrad) Philharmonic Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic led the London Times to call him "one of the most exciting conductors in the world today." Jansons later recalled, “I felt it was already a good orchestra with wonderful players, and very well organized and managed. And, although I was music conductor before in the eastern part of Europe, I didn’t have experience as music director in America. Therefore, I was thinking, for these two reasons it would be great for me to go to America. And, I must tell you that I was absolutely right. Because this was one of my most wonderful times in my life. And the community is unbelievably nice.”

“No one will forget his concert with the orchestra after September 11th. After Mariss' plane was diverted en route here for the gala concert. He arrived just before the concert, and, without having ever conducted the piece, led the orchestra in Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man,” said Tom Todd, board member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and chair of the board at that time. “The transformation of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mariss was striking.”

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will release an extensive remembrance of Jansons later this week.

Photos attached to this release were taken at today's concert during Manfred Honeck's remarks and the performance of the Schubert piece.



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Media Contacts
Julie Goetz | Director of Communications
jgoetz@pittsburghsymphony.org | 412.392.4866